New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday that diamantaire Nirav Modi was not part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official delegation to Davos.
"The group photo of the PM with a group of businessmen was just an 'impromptu' event," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, PTI reported.
— Indian Diplomacy (@IndianDiplomacy) February 16, 2018
Meanwhile, the ministry has suspended with immediate effect the passports of Nirav Modi and his business partner Mehul Choksi for four weeks.
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) February 16, 2018
"On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the passport issuing authority in the Ministry of External Affairs has suspended the validity of passports of Mr Nirav Deepak Modi and Mr Mehul Chinubhai Choksi with immediate effect for a period of four weeks u/s 10(A) of the Passports Act 1967. Mr Nirav Deepak Modi and Mr Mehul Chinubhai Choksi have been asked to respond within one week as to why their passports should not be impounded or revoked under Section 10 (3) (c) of the Passports Act 1967. If they fail to respond within the stipulated time it will be assumed that they have no response to offer and the MEA will go ahead with the revocation.," the MEA said in a statement.
Kumar also said, "The gentleman is not in touch with any of our officers and we don't know his location."
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED on Thursday had moved separate applications to the MEA seeking the revocation Nirav Modi's passport as well as that of his maternal uncle and his business partner Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali jewellery chain.
In what could be the biggest banking fraud in India, state-owned Punjab National Bank has said that it has detected a USD 1.77 billion scam in which Nirav Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking from one of its branches for overseas credit from other Indian lenders.
PNB said in a statement that fraudulent transactions took place in one of its branches in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance.
Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and Mehul Choksi are partners in Diamonds R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds, which has shops in foreign locations such as Hong Kong, Dubai, and New York.
(With Agency inputs)